In October, spaced a few days apart, I got to see two very successful bloggers talk (but not so much about men, more about things). Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka The Yarnharlot and Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce. You get very familiar with people and their blogs, you think you get to know them pretty well, so I was surprised to hear Stephanie's voice because it was a lot lower than what I expected and that Heather woman? She is tall, TALL.
I like to hear stories about how people got to where they are. Ages ago I had a boyfriend who was a devotee of Guru Maharaj Ji (this was the 70s) and I liked to attend Satsang with him because I liked to hear the stories about how people turned themselves around and finally found their direction (by the way, I am not religious in any form or way, ever, but that doesn't mean my friends can't be).
Listening to these two women talk about how they got to where they are now was the familiar story of focusing. And maybe being backed into a corner and having to figure out something. And maybe just general stubbornness. :-) Or any combination of the above.
Stephanie lost her job at a hospital in Toronto because of the SARS panic, her husband lost his job in the music industry related to the same panic. What to do, what to do? She decided that the only thing she was qualified to do was write and what she was passionate about was knitting so she just hauled herself to a publisher with a book proposal. It certainly shouldn't have worked out but seven books later?...she definitely found a niche and a voice for a lot of fellow knitters.
Heather lost her job because she blogged about where she worked...a little too honestly, even though it was probably all true and very funny. She was compelled to write so she then chose to write about her family instead. Well, that did not go over too well with her family. At all. But compelled she was to keep writing. She learned that if you write about your work situation, you could lose your job, write honestly about your family, you could make them really mad at you, write about becoming a mother and how that changes everything about you (while still retaining her murderous wit), there was an audience. You just have to be aware that you are visible to a lot of people and to be responsible for what you say. Which she is now, not that she has compromised anything about her humor.
When you listen to people talk about their lives in front of an audience, there is usually something in the back of your mind you're waiting to hear (at least that's how it is with me). Two people can hear one person's lecture and be mystified by each other's interpretation of what was just said. I'm always drawn to creative journeys of people but in October, I was in a major creative slump. Nothing interesting was happening with what I was drawing or what I was writing on the blog and I was getting really frustrated with myself. I couldn't get anywhere. That was my state of mind when I heard Heather talk. Someone asked her if she ever had writer's block and how she handled it. Heather said that when writer's block happens, and it does, she has written long enough to know that it will last two weeks. She just has to keep writing while she waits for the block to pass. And you know, she was right. I really appreciated her simple answer to something that causes me so much frustration. Just wait two weeks, everything will change.
If you haven't read either of these two people, check them out. They are FUNNY. And remember to check out the "Daily Chuck" on Dooce because that dog is the most patient dog on earth. :-)